A day after Congress party president Sonia Gandhi, vice president Rahul Gandhi and other office bearers of the party received a set-back in National Herald case, the party MPs raised protest in both the house of Parliament leading to several adjournments through that day. The Delhi High Court had on Monday rejected their plea seeking the quashing of summons issued by the trial court last year in a case filed by BJP member Subramanian Swamy alleging them of acquiring the properties of now defunct newspaper National Herald’s publishing firm Associated Journal Ltd. illegally.
The tone was set early in the day with Sonia Gandhi saying she is “not scared”, as the jostling press sought for a reaction over Monday’s order, at the Parliament House.
“I am the daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi…. I am not scared of anyone. I am not disturbed,” Sonia asserted as she entered the Parliament House building.
Soon as the house reassembled on Tuesday, Congress party members took to the Well in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha raising slogans like “Tanashahi nahi chalegi” (dictatorship will not be tolerated) and “Badle ke rajnathi nahi chalegi” (politics of revenge).
Both the houses were finally adjourned for the day at 3:00 PM after it saw several adjournments due to Congress party protest through the day. However, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, before the adjournment in the Upper House, said that the government is open to any discussion on the issue.
In Lok Sabha, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan asked Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge to explain what his party was protesting against. But Mr. Kharge did not respond to the Speaker even as 45-member Congress contingent intensified their protest on the floor of the Lower House.
The MPs of principal opposition party were back in the Well as it reconvened after a brief adjournment. The Lok Sabha did transact some business amid the slogans and protest.
Similar protest has been witnessed in Rajya Sabha so far with Congress party member, the largest contingent in the Upper House, raising slogans and taking to the Well of the house. Their protest has led to five adjournments so far – 11:00 AM, 11:30 AM, 12:00 noon, 12:30 PM and again after it assembled at 2:00 PM.
Earlier, in the midst of din, Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien got the listed papers of the day tabled asking Congress members to go back to their assigned benches and instead explain the reason for their protest. The Congress member, however, did not pay heed to his requests and continued their protest.
“Instead of shouting slogan, one of you stand up and say what is your grievance?” Mr. Kurien said adding, “Let me also know… I am not able to understand anything.”
“Congress party should respect the judicial process and work under the due process of law,” Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said amid the protest of Congress MPs.
Attacking the Congress party for its protest in both the houses of Parliament, Union Parliamentary Affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu said “They should contest it in court”. “How can you hold the government responsible? It is totally unfair and irresponsible to fix it on the government as they could not face the truth. Yhey are now trying to blame the government,” he told the press outside Parliament.
The agitating Congress members got a surprise support from the Samajwadi Party, whose senior leader Naresh Agrawal said that the current BJP-led NDA government “was not only working to take political vendetta against the Congress, but opposition-ruled states also”.
Mr. Agrawal further alleged that the Centre has stopped developmental works in Uttar Pradesh, the state ruled by SP.
(With inputs from the PTI)